Nishnawbe Aski Nation Invited to UN Human Rights Workshop

(December 5, 2001) A delegation from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation is in Geneva, Switzerland, attending a workshop hosted by the United Nation's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The workshop which runs Dec. 5 & 7 is being attended by indigenous peoples, private sector natural resource, energy and mining companies. The purpose of the workshop is to gather information from around the world about resource development issues and how they impact on indigenous peoples and human rights. The Nishnawbe Aski Nation makes its presentation on Friday.

It was chosen as one of the four case studies from around the world. The other case studies focus on forestry in South Africa, mining in the Philippines and mining in Ecuador.

The members of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation delegation are Deputy Grand Chief Raymond Ferris, land resources co-ordinator Evelyn Baxter Robinson, Elder John White and Chief Dwight Sutherland of New Post First Nation.

"We are very pleased and surprised that Nishnawbe Aski Nation was chosen as a case study from so many other areas of the world. It is a great honour to be attending such an event, and we look forward to the discussion we will be having with the participants. Hopefully, some worthwhile recommendations or results will ultimately come out of the process," said Ferris.

The workshop's objective is to contribute to ongoing the UN working group's examination of the activities of transnational corporations, with an eye to develop human right guidelines for these companies. The working group is preparing for a World Summit on Sustainable Development slated for September, 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation was asked to prepare a paper outlining resource development activities and indigenous rights issues in keeping with the theme of the workshop.

"The workshop is especially timely since the Nishnawbe Aski Nation chiefs passed resolutions directing the Nishnawbe Aski Nation organization to find ways to take our peoples' issues to the international level in light of the lack of adequate results and recognition we are getting in Canada," said Ferris.